Will Crane Training Teach Me All I Need to Know?


Becoming a crane operator may not be a job you’ve seriously considered before, but it’s a very steady profession that generally offers strong pay and benefits packages, with the average crane operator making over $25 per hour or over $50,000 in annual salary. So many decide to enter the field and attempt to carve out a living as a crane operator. However, many states require certification, so if you decide to become a crane operator, it’s crucial that you receive the very best all-crane training at a school like West Coast Training. This will allow you to not only get certified, but also learn everything you need to know about becoming a crane operator.

So what should you look for in a school? What will ensure that your all-crane training is precisely what you need, not only to get certified, but to become a legitimate expert on all necessary knowledge involving crane operating?

National Certification

In order to be fully certified as a crane operator, you need to know the ins and outs of both swing- and fixed-cab mobile hydraulic cranes. Any training you receive should teach you about this because you’re going to need to know it to both be a quality crane operator and pass the written and practical parts of the National Commission for Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) exam.

The NCCCO is widely recognized and having this certification is essential for somebody looking to make a living as a crane operator. Quality training programs will not only prepare you for the NCCCO exam, they’ll also offer you the opportunity to learn from NCCCO-certified instructors and should have examiners on staff who can administer the written and practical exams.

Why Certification Is Important

OSHA regulations require that any crane operator who doesn’t have the proper certifications must always be supervised. What this means is that, if you don’t have the correct certifications, it will be difficult for you to find work because the company would have to dedicate two people to your machine, instead of just one. That inefficiency means the company you work for would have to be willing to accept you as, more or less, an operator-in-training. This will greatly limit your list of potential employers because many companies won’t be willing to devote extra resources to you and a trainer when they could just hire one person with all the necessary certifications.

The Basics of Crane Operation

Any all-crane training course you take should be well-structured and ready to teach you the essentials of becoming a crane operator. During a quality crane course, students will be taught about the various cranes and how they’re used, as well as basic knowledge of the machines and the terminology and technical jargon that they will encounter in the field. Understanding basic principles involving fulcrums, levers, and center of gravity should all be taught as well.

There should be a section of any crane operator course dedicated to signal person training and rigging, including rigging safety, rigging hardware, and the use of tag lines, slings, and configurations. Mobile crane operation safety should be addressed too. This entails all potential safety issues and on-site job hazards. All the proper functions of a crane should also be taught. This entails how to start the crane up, how to shut it down, and other general operating procedures.

Students should also learn about the career opportunities that exist for operating each type of crane. This will help steer them in the right direction at the conclusion of the course.


The ability to properly communicate is an essential part of any line of work, and crane operation is no exception. Any crane operation course should teach the basics of how to communicate in the field, including both verbal and non-verbal forms of communication.

As far as non-verbal communication, there are very important hand signals used in the field that are commonplace among crane operators. Learning what those hand signals mean and the machine movements to expect as a result of those hand signals is an important part of a crane operator’s training.

You should also be instructed on how to avoid or overcome distractions, environmental factors, and common problems experienced in the field by all crane operators. In addition, you should be taught about the proper way to interact with compliance inspections and deal with power systems and preventative maintenance issues.

Materials and Procedure

Assembly and disassembly of various pieces of equipment are necessary in the field, so students must be taught about the various ways in which they’ll be expected to break down equipment such as lattice booms and telescopic booms. This includes how to assemble and disassemble them in extreme weather conditions.

Proper usage of wire rope is important and should be taught. So should the skills to use input devices, load indicators, load movement indicators, non-centered lifts, and operational quadrants. Students will also need to learn lift implementation, which entails instruction on how to do critical and blind lifts.

Load charts are of vital importance to crane operators, so everything under that category, such as dedication charts and on-rubber, needs to be taught to students in any crane operator course.

The ins and outs of load dynamics and on-site equipment must be thoroughly taught so that the future crane operators in the class have a full understanding of safety issues and site hazards such as powerline contact and moving on uneven ground. This information will be key to preventing and managing on-site accidents.

Emergency procedures and transportation are a big part of the training too. A quality all-crane training school will teach students about accident prevention techniques and contact hazards. Students will also learn how to properly handle and pack mobile cranes and their parts for transport.


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